4 Plays That Secured a Dallas Cowboys Victory Against the Carolina Panthers

Bo Martin@BoKnowsBCBContributor IOctober 21, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 21: Miles Austin #19 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a touchdown catch against defender Josh Norman #24 of the Carolina Panthers during play at Bank of America Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Cowboys won 19-14. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys narrowly came away with a victory against a team that they should have beaten in convincing fashion. 

After a crushing defeat against Baltimore last week, the Cowboys needed this win.  A loss would have put them at 2-4 in a fierce division.  Cowboys Nation was in an uproar after last week and badly needed this game to help them from becoming unstable.

The win wasn’t without headache.  However, the Cowboys did everything they had too to secure a win against the explosive Carolina Panthers

Here are the four plays that helped seal this victory:


Morris Claiborne's Interception of Cam Newton in the End Zone

Claiborne was considered the best defensive back in the 2012 NFL draft.  It’s been a slow transition, but he picked a great time to get his first career interception.

With the Cowboys up 3-0, the Panthers drove 74 yards down the field to answer the Cowboys score.  After a lazy option fake by Cam Newton on first down, the Panthers were faced with 2nd-and-goal.  Cam made the play-action fake and tossed a soft pass towards the end zone, where Claiborne was able to get under it.

Though the Cowboys weren’t able to score on their next possession, the Claiborne interception kept the Panthers from scoring what should have been a touchdown. 



Miles Austin's TD Reception

After a costly fumble that not only resulted in a scoring drive, but also saw Phil Costa sustain a serious injury, Austin was able to deliver for the Cowboys.

In one series Austin converted a third down with an 11-yard reception and then scored on a 26-yard reception on the next play. 

Austin's reception seemed to give Tony Romo some confidence and gave the Cowboys a three-point lead.  This would end up being the Cowboys' only touchdown of the game, and a much-needed one at that.


Pass Defended by Morris Claiborne on 4th Down

There will be a lot of talk about this being pass interference, but remember the physical play against Dez Bryant in the end zone before you say that.  The refs were letting the teams play physical ball and they were consistent about doing it.

On 4th-and-1, the Cowboys needed a stop to halt a Panthers comeback drive, as they were down three. 

Newton dropped back and delivered a pass right toward Louis Murphy.  A physical Claiborne was able to defend the pass and force a turnover on downs.

Claiborne’s defense was huge today, and this play allowed the Cowboys to go on a drive that ate 1:15 and resulted in a field goal.


Anthony Spencer's Sack and DeMarcus Ware's Fumble Recovery

The score was now 19-14 with the Cowboys in the lead.  The Panthers got the ball back after a Cowboys field goal. 

Newton completed a pass for 26 yards to the Carolina 46 and spiked the ball.  On the next play Newton had a pass fall incomplete to Brandon LaFell.  On a critical third down, Anthony Spencer speared through the line and drops Newton for a loss of 10 yards. 

As Newton watched the clock running down, he had one more chance to win the game.  He completed a pass to Greg Olsen, who was the first player to lateral in a classic circus play.  Eventually Newton ended up with the ball again, and he pitched the ball to DeMarcus Ware. 

Wrong team Cam!

The Cowboys won on Ware’s fumble recovery.